While the main attention may have been at the MCG on Saturday, it gave seven European horses the opportunity to slip into a rainy and blustery Melbourne for their tilt at the Spring Racing Carnival riches. The first wave of European raiders – from Ireland, England and France - including Sportingbet Cox Plate aspirants Mull Of Killough and Side Glance and the Australian owned but UK-based Caulfield and Melbourne Cup entrant Dandino, touched down just after midday and proceeded into quarantine at the International Equine Centre in Werribee.

Side Glance, trained by Andrew Balding and Mull Of Killough, trained by Jane Chapple-Hyam, both come to Melbourne as Cox Plate invitees by the Moonee Valley Racing Club after their last start in the Group 1 Arlington Million (2000m) at Arlington, USA on 18 August where they finished third & eighth respectively.

The Marco Botti-trained Dandino, who is owned by a syndicate put together by Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock and raced in the same interests as 2012 Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup third-placegetter Jakkalberry, comes to Melbourne following a victory in the Group 1 American St Leger (2700m); the race Jakkalberry also won last year.

“We’re taking a different approach with Dandino than we did with Jakkalberry”, said Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock director Darren Dance.

“I said to Marco after last years carnival that we need to come here and have two serious go’s (runs) so that’s why I’ve been of the opinion that he is a really good Caulfield Cup prospect.”

While Melbourne didn’t quite turn on its best appearance weather-wise to greet these arrivals, all of the travelling stable staff reported no issues with their 28-hour long trip.

Racing Victoria’s International Recruitment Officer Leigh Jordon noted that todays new arrivals reinforced the strength of this group of international raiders right from the sprinting representativeLucky Nine through to the BMW Caulfield Cup and Emirates Melbourne Cup challengers.

“With the retirement of Lethal Arrow, Lucky Nine’s international rating of 120 sees him as one of the stand out top sprinters anywhere in the world at the moment and the Europeans are top class too”, said Jordon of the Hong Kong gelding who arrived last Tuesday.

Also amongst the arrivals was the Markus Nigge-trained Trevieres with handler Stephanie Nigge who strapped 2010 Melbourne Cup hero Americain, and the Willie Mullins-trained Simenon who is also on a feature Cups path after finishing second in the Group 1 Ascot Gold Cup (4000m) in June and second in the Group 2 Lonsdale Cup (3300m) in late August.

Master UK jumps trainer Nicky Henderson’s Cups contender Forgotten Voice was also on the flight together with trainer Ed Walker’s Ruscello who is hoping to line up in the Emirates Melbourne Cup.

From a local perspective, the shipment also included Shamexpress returning from the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) winner’s two-run excursion to England and Opinion,a winner of four out of 12 starts, who will be trained in Australian by Chris Waller.

Click here to read the international profiles on the most recent horses to take up residence at Werribee.